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Full text of "Otto Wittmann: museum man for all seasons"

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Otto Wittmann 

Museum Man for All Seasons 



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Ota? Wittmann 

Museum Man for All Seasons 



Sally Anne Duncan 

Toledo Museum of Art 
2001 



in memoriam Otto Wittmann, 1911 -2 001 



Acknou 'ledgments 

On the sun-drenched terrace of the 
new Getty Center in Los Angeles, 
I read the name of Otto Wittmann 
on a plaque honoring him as one of 
the Getty Museums founding trustees. 
I met him soon after and quickly 
discovered that Otto Wittmanns heart 
was forever in Toledo and in the 
extraordinary Museum whose collec- 
tion he helped to build. His work at 
the Toledo Museum of Art was, 
indeed, his finest hour, and one 
he celebrated until his death on July 
14,2001. 

I would like to express my gratitude to 
Roger M. Berkowitz for his enthusiastic 
interest in this project. My thanks go 
also to Samuel G. Carson, long serving 
member of Toledo's Board of Trustees, 
and devoted friend to Otto Wittmann, 
who made this publication possible. 

Sandra E. Knudsen, coordinator of 
publications, has provided both excellent 
editorial support and thoughtful insight 
into important aspects of Otto 
Wittmanns career. Julie A. McMaster, 
archivist, has expertly guided me 
through the Museum's rich archives and 
been most generous with her time and 
direction. John Wittmann has provided 
invaluable information on his mother, 
Margaret Hill Wittmann, and the 
Wittmann family. 



Many individuals who worked with 
Otto Wittmann during his thirty years 
at the Toledo Museum eagerly came 
forward to be interviewed, and their 
comments and reflections have greatly 
enriched this study. Warmest thanks to 
current and past directors, Roger M. 
Berkowitz, David W Steadman, and 
Roger Mandle, and to Museum staff 
Anne O. Morris, Robert F. Phillips, 
and Patricia J. Whitesides, for sharing 
their insights. My sincere appreciation 
also goes to former staff and interns: 
Stephanie Barron, William Chiego, 
Charles Gunther, John Keefe, and 
Katharine Lee Reid. 

Board members and volunteers with 
whom I spoke were a testimony to the 
ongoing devotion of Toledo's commu- 
nity to its Museum. Thanks also to 
Samuel G. Carson, Katherine 
Jamieson, and Bunny (Mrs. Jerome) 
Kapp for sharing their recollections 
of the Wittmann years. 

Finally, I would like to thank my 
devoted husband, George, and Andrew 
McClellan, Chair of Tufts University's 
Department of Art and Art History, for 
recognizing the importance of this work. 

This book is dedicated to Otto Wittmann 
with my esteem and affection. 

Sally Anne Duncan 
July 2001 



Photograph Credits 

Cover: Otto Wittmann, I960. On the wall: 
Abraham Bloemaert (Dutch, 1564-1651), 
Shepherdess Reading a Sonnet, oil on canvas, 1628, 
purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, 
Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1955.34. 

Page 1: Otto Wittmann, 1976. 

Page 3 (opposite): Otto Wittmann, 1952. On the 
wall: John Martin (British, 1789-1854), The 
Destruction of Tyre, oil on canvas, 1840, 1952.88; on 
the desk: Panther, bronze, Italy or Netherlands, late 
16th or early 17th century, 1952.16; both purchased 
with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of 
Edward Drummond Libbey. 

Unless otherwise indicated, non-art photographs 
are from Toledo Museum of Art Archives. Black- 
and-white photographs, color transparencies, color 
slides, and digital images of archival photos and of 
works of art in the collection may be ordered. 

This book was published with the assistance of 
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

FIRST EDITION 

© 2001 Toledo Museum of Art 

All Rights Reserved. 

Except for legitimate excerpts customary in review 

or scholarly publications, no part of this book may 

be reproduced by any means without the express 

written permission of the publisher. 

ISBN 0-935172-14-9 

Printed in the United States of America. All rights 
reserved under International and Pan-American 
Copyright Conventions. 

Toledo Museum of Art 

2445 Monroe Street 

P.O. Box 1013 

Toledo, Ohio 43697-1013 

Telephone (419) 255-8000 

Fax (419) 255-5638 

Internet www.toledomuseum.org 

Project Supervisor and Editor: Sandra E. Knudsen 
Designer: Rochelle R. Slosser Smith 
Typography: Adobe Garamond OSF 
Priming: Homewood Press, Toledo 



Contents 









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5 Foreword 

7 From Kansas City to Harvard 

8 The Museum Course 

9 Wartime Years 

1 1 A Train Ride to Toledo 

12 The Toledo Museum in 1946 
14 Connoisseurship and Collecting 
21 International Exhibitions 



23 Proteges and Colleagues 

24 Training the Next Generation 

26 Working with the Community 

27 Docents and Aides 

28 The Studio Glass Movement 

29 Partnership and Stewardship 

30 Giving Back to the Nation 




Otto Wittmann unveiling Venus and Cupid, by Guido Reni (Italian, 1575-1642), oil on canvas, 1626, purchased with funds from the Libbey 
F.ndowment, Gift of Fxlward Drummond Libbey. 1 972.86. Reni's biographer, Carlo Gesare Malvasia, wrote that this picture was painted for a 
goldsmith in exchange for a diamond valued at 1 50 scudi. Photo: Courtesy Toledo Blade, October 4, 1973. 



Foreword 



I first met Otto Wittmann in April 
1969, when I was interviewed by him 
for a nine-month curatorial internship 
as part of my graduate studies at the 
University of Michigan. I returned to 
the Toledo Museum in 1974 as a 
curatorial assistant. During that 
internship and my two years on the 
curatorial staff prior to Wittmann's 
retirement, I had the privilege of 
experiencing his encouragement, his 
advice, and his connoisseurship. For 
the ensuing twenty-five years, I have 
benefited from the exceptional 
operational systems he set in place, the 
deep community ties he established, 
and the remarkable works of art he 
acquired that still form the golden core 
or the Museum's collection. 



Otto Wittmann's thirty years with the 
Toledo Museum of Art, from 1946 
through 1976, provide a case study in 
professional museum leadership and 
demonstrate one man's success in 
making a Midwestern art museum a 
vital force in its community and in the 
nation. Under his direction, the Toledo 
Museum became internationally 
acclaimed for its collection and its 
community service. 

The contents of this book comprise 
part of a more extensive study by Sally 
Anne Duncan of the influence of Paul 
J. Sachs, whose course Museum Work 
and Museum Problems (known as the 
"Museum Course"), created in 1921 at 
Harvard University, trained America's 
first generation of professionals in 



connoisseurship and museum manage- 
ment. Otto Wittmann proved himself one 
of Sachs's most distinguished proteges. 

In addition to Sally Anne Duncan, 
Julie A. McMaster, the Museum's 
archivist, and Sandra E. Knudsen, the 
Museum's coordinator of publications, 
provided key assistance. Further, Alice 
and Samuel G. Carson, long-time 
supporters of the Museum and close 
personal friends of Otto Wittmann, 
made this publication possible. 

We proudly acknowledge the Toledo 
Museum of Art's one-hundredth 
anniversary in part by celebrating 
the history and contributions of its 
distinguished director, Otto Wittmann. 

Roger M. Berkowitz 
Director 




Otto Wittmann, 1976, leaning on the pedestal of a Bust of a Man, marble, French, about 1600, purchased with funds from the Libbey 
Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1962.20; on the wall: Nicolas de Largilliere (French, 1656-1746), Portrait of a Man, oil on 
canvas, 1703, purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1955.35. 



Otto Wittmann: Museum Man for All Seasons 



Otto Wittmann took pride in his 
Midwestern roots. His grandfather, 
who emigrated from Germany to 
Lincoln, Nebraska, operated a harness 
business and sold bicycles. Joining the 
automobile boom, his father, Otto 
Wittmann, Sr., became a successful 
auto parts distributor and moved to 
Kansas City, where he married Beatrice 
Knox Billingsly. After his wife's sudden 
death in the influenza epidemic of 
1918, he was left alone to raise their 
two young children, and he devoted 
himself wholeheartedly to this task. 

From Kansas City to Harvard 

Otto Wittmann, Jr., born September 
1 , 1911, and his younger sister 
Winifred went to public schools in 
Kansas City until they reached high 
school, when their father enrolled 
them in private schools to prepare 
them for college and future profes- 
sions. Young Otto entered Country 



Day School where he decided he 
would one day become a writer. He 
set his sights on Princeton and Harvard 
instead of the Midwestern universities 
many of his classmates went on to 
attend. Accepted at Harvard, his 
second choice, he became the first in 
his family to attend an Ivy League 
college. His sister entered Radcliffe 
two years later. 1 

When Otto Wittmann arrived in 
Cambridge in 1 929 as a freshman at 
Harvard University, he had never visited 
a museum or seen a collection of original 
works of art. His hometown had yet to 
build its art museum, and the city's art 
was confined to the walls of its well-to- 
do residents. "I went to college," he 
recalled, "knowing nothing, absolutely 
nothing, about art." 2 

Wittmann's introduction to the fine 
arts began as a freshman in a course at 
Harvard's Fogg Art Museum entitled 



Principles of Drawing and Painting, 
taught by Arthur Pope. 3 Here he was 
transported into a new visual world by 
lantern slides of Titian, Tintoretto, and 
Rembrandt. In the Fogg's galleries he 
encountered a museum collection of 
the highest quality for the first time. 
A new acquaintance helped to spur 
Wittmann's interest when, on arrival 
at Harvard, he met classmate Perry 
Rathbone, a New Yorker and sophisti- 
cate, who had already decided to 
become a museum director. Rathbone 
took Wittmann under his wing and 
introduced the Midwesterner to 
museums and galleries in Boston and 
New York, thus beginning a life-long 
friendship and shared adventures in 
the fine arts. 

By his junior year, Wittmann had 
left his literary ambitions behind to 
become an art history major. He 
enrolled in Paul J. Sachs's French 
painting course and other fine arts 



offerings from the Renaissance to the 
nineteenth century taught hy Chandler 
Post, George Edgell, and other 
distinguished faculty. In their tree time 
Wittmann and Rathbone organized 
exhibitions at the Harvard Society for 
Contemporary Art. This experimental 
organization had been founded in 
1929 bv undergraduates Edward 
Warburg, John Walker, and Lincoln 
Kirstein (all of whom would go on to 
distinguished careers in the art world). 
An off-campus location allowed them 
to exhibit contemporary art safely away 
from the Fogg, so as not to provoke 
university controversy. Wittmann and 
Rathbone mounted exhibitions of 
contemporary American art, Surrealist 
art, and modern architecture. They 
learned firsthand the risks and rewards 
of embracing the artists of the mo- 
ment: Ben Shahn, Max Ernst, and 
Walter Gropius. 4 

Upon graduation in 1933, Wittmann's 
father, having paid his son's college 
expenses, expected him to be self- 
supporting. With graduate training at 
Harvard financially out of reach, Otto 
Wittmann returned to the Midwest 
and a position at the William Rockhill 
Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City's 
newly created art museum (today the 
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art). He 
and Texas-bred Harvard classmate 
Philip Beam joined Director (and 
Museum Course graduate) Paul 
Gardner in a marathon of activities. 
They had only three months to prepare 
an empty building for its grand 
opening and quickly learned how to 
uncrate and install incoming treasures. 



Wittmann was impressed with 
Gardner's spacious and elegant gallery 
arrangements — visual showmanship 
essential to an art museum's success. 

The way [Gardner] put things on 
the wall, and the careful way in 
which he adjusted pictures by 
color and size and the distance 

between them All this made 

me realize that there was a lot to 
the presentation of works of art.'' 

Wittmann wore many hats in Kansas 
City's new museum. When it opened, 
Gardner promoted him to registrar and 
curator of prints. Determined to offer 
educational programs, Gardner put 
both Wittmann and Beam to work as 
instructors, and they gave their first 
gallery talks and lectures before groups 
of curious visitors. Children's programs 
were also an urgent necessity, but the 
fledgling museum had few resources to 
develop an education department. 
Gardner came up with a plan to use 
Junior League volunteers, known for 
their dedication to community service, 
as lecturers to work with both children 
and adults. He enlisted Wittmann to 
train the new instructors as docents. It 
was soon evident that the docents were 
not only superb educators but also 
served as ambassadors to the commu- 
nity. Visitors flocked to the new 
museum, and Kansas City's Junior 
League program became a model of 
fine-arts volunteerism, one that was to 
be replicated across the country. 



The Museum Course 

After three years in Kansas City, 
Wittmann wrote to Paul Sachs to 
request admission to Harvard's 
graduate program and to inquire 
about financial aid. Scholarships 
were scarce during the Depression, 
but Sachs took a special interest in 
his case. He invited the young man 
to return as his assistant and to take 
the Museum Course without having 
to enroll officially at Harvard. In 
1937, Wittmann happily returned to 
Cambridge on a Carnegie summer 
school scholarship. 6 With only one 
year of study promised him, he entered 
Sachs's Museum Course that fall — after 
Perry Rathbone and his other college 
classmates had long since completed 
it — the only member of the incoming 
class with bona fide museum experi- 
ence. With the practical aspects of 
museum work well in hand, Wittmann 
concentrated on acquiring skills in 
connoisseurship and collecting. 
Through Sachs he also became 
intimately acquainted with the 
inner workings of the art world. 

There, Wittmann began his studies 
in connoisseurship, learning to judge 
the quality, authenticity, and value of 
works of art. This gift above all others 
would serve him in Toledo. He later 
recalled that "it was Paul Sachs who 
really instilled in all of us a sense of 
quality, the sense of looking at things 
carefully, and using our own eyes and 
our own judgment." Quality became 
the foundation for Wittmann's future 
collecting. 



He took full advantage of his year 

with Sachs, assuming leadership or die 

Museum Courses student exhibition, 

The Horse: Its Significance in Art. 
Together, he and his classmates 
contacted collectors and dealers to 
request the loan of works ol ait, 
arrange tor their transport and installs 
tion, mm\ write the catalogue. 
Wittmann also organized the class's 
annual spring trip and by doing so 
made the acquaintance or the famous 
collectors and dealers in Sachs's circle, 
such as Helen Frick, Joseph E. Wid- 
ener, and Joseph Duveen. The visit 
to Widener's estate, its palatial rooms 
filled with Old Master paintings and 
period furnishings, made a lasting 
impression. He cherished the memory 
of this visit, recalling that "it was the 
first time I had seen a real gallery of art 

attached to a house We were ottered 

lunch in this regal dining room... one 
footman behind each chair, wearing 
white gloves and dressed in the livery 
of service." Two decades hence, on his 
scouting expeditions for Toledo, he 
would be welcomed in many or the 
grand collections, exhibition spaces, 
and dealer showrooms he had first 
approached while assisting Sachs. 

Sachs's course led to Wittmann's 
appointment as curator of the Louis 
F. and Charlotte Hyde Collection in 
Glens Falls, New York. The Hydes 
greatly admired Isabella Stewart 
Gardner's extraordinary collection 
in Boston, and they bought Italian 
Renaissance and eighteenth-century 
paintings, sculpture, and decorative 
arts with the intention or opening their 




Paul Sachs with Museum Course group in the Naumherg Room of the logg Art Museum, class of 1944 or 1945- Photo: 
Courtesy of the Harvard Universiry Art Museums. © President and Fellows of Harvard College (Harvard Univcrviu Art 
Museums). 



home as a smaller version of Gardner's 
palace, Fenway Court. Mrs. Hyde, 
a widow by the time of Wittmann's 
arrival, resided in New York City. His 
mandate was to transform her Glens 
Falls home into a public art museum 
(today the Hyde Museum of Art). 
Wittmann immediately put his 
experience and training into practice. 
He planned programs and exhibitions 
to appeal to the community: art 
appreciation classes, children's activi- 
ties, and changing exhibitions of works 
borrowed from New York dealers and 
local collectors. He mounted exhibits 
that ranged from folk art to the 
painting of Wassily Kandinsky, and 



when he left three years later the Hyde 
Collection had added pieces by Pablo 
Picasso, Georges Rouault, and Henri 
Matisse to its distinguished collection 
of older works. 

Wartime Years 

Wittmann's tenure at the Hyde 
Collection ended abruptly when he 
was drafted early in 1941. The next 
five and a half years were spent in the 
military. 8 The Army assigned him to 
be an interviewer of incoming draftees, 
work at which he excelled, and he 
rapidly rose from private to Stan 
sergeant. "I learned a great deal about 



human nature," Wittmann later 
recalled, "and the wide variety of 
careers and jobs represented." He 
became a second lieutenant, after 
seizing the opportunity to attend 
the Army Air Force Officer's Training 
School, and was assigned to the 
personnel department of the Air 
Transport Command in Washington, 
D.C., the first around-the-world airline 
to move troops and supplies. 

In 1944 Wittmann was transferred to 
the Art Looting Investigation Unit of 
the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). 9 
As an officer at the Washington office 
of the OSS, Wittmann worked with 
the FBI, the State Department, and 
other intelligence agencies to locate 
works of art that had been taken by 
the Nazis from allied countries. He 
traveled widely to interview people 
involved with the looting of works 
of art. What came to light was a vast 
underground trade in stolen art. His 
unit produced reports that implicated 
a network of individuals, including 
dealers and scholars throughout 
Europe. He also worked at the Art 
Collecting Point in Munich, where 
art recovered by American troops was 
first brought. He was present at the 
Orangerie exhibition in Paris where 
many stolen works returned to 
France were proudly displayed for 
the first time. 

In Munich, Wittmann made the 
acquaintance of French and Dutch 
museum personnel who came to claim 
their countries' stolen art works, as 
well the British, Ccrmans, Swiss, and 
Scandinavians involved with the 




Peter Paul Rubens's The Crowning of Saint Catherine at the Allied Forces' Munich Collecting Point after World War 
II. Photo: Johannes Felbermeyer. 



repatriation effort. The European 
officers who came to Munich to 
identify their works of art were all 
young men who had started museum 
careers, leaving them to go into 
military service as Wittmann had 
done. Many would soon resume 
positions as directors and curators of 
European museums, a network of art 
colleagues that would become invalu- 
able to all of them in the years ahead. 

The war years left their mark on 
Wittmann's attitudes and ambitions as 
a museum professional. He now saw 
museum work as both a public service 
and a democratic duty. Having 
witnessed totalitarianism and the 
devastation of warfare, he fervently 
believed that the fine arts were essential 
for the preservation of democracy and 



even international peace. He equated 
art and culture with truth and freedom 
and saw America's art museums as 
repositories of endangered values. 

In our collections, history tells us 
that despite everything that has 
happened to man, he remains 
unconquerable in his yearning to 
reach the stars. From the darkest 
of dark ages, the human spirit 
and the human soul blaze out 
from paintings, write their 
message in the towering cathe- 
drals, and take shape in the 
sculpture of antiquity.' 



Returning to civilian lite, Wittmann 

did not consider applying tor jobs at 
the prestigious East Coast museums 
where competition would be intense. 
His close friend and classmate, Perry 
Rathbone had recently worked both in 
Detroit and St. Louis." A Midwest- 
erner by birth, Wittmann also looked 
to America's heartland tor his next 
position and was drawn to Toledo, 
Ohio, where there was a museum well 
known tor its growing collection and 
its exceptional educational mission. 1 
Lolcdoans by the thousands embraced 
their museum as a matter of civic pride 
and considered the tree art and music 
programs at the Toledo Museum of Art 
the center of the city's cultural life. 

A Train Ride to Toledo 

At the outset, the Toledo Museum of 
Art's educational programs outshone 
its collections and were what drew 
Wittmann to this mid-sized city 
(population 282,349 in 1950, thirty- 
fourth among U.S. cities). Glass 
industrialist Edward Drummond 
Libbey and a group of Toledo business- 
men founded the Museum in 1901 as 
a progressive concept. Within two 
years, the founders hired director 
George W Stevens who, in partnership 
with his wife, Nina, began an ambi- 
tious series of temporary exhibitions 
and tree educational programs for 
children. The Museum's acquisitions 
grew haphazardly — mostly donations 
by Mr. and Mrs. Libbey of ancient 
Egyptian artifacts, glass of many eras, 
and graphic arts — until 1925. when a 
bequest of Old Master paintings and a 



generous endowment from Mr. Libbey 
provided a firm foundation for the 
future collection. 

The Toledo Museum of Art consis- 
tently believed that education was 
central to serving its community and 
considered children's programs its 
primary purpose, a commitment that 
expanded to include adults in the 
1920s. The classic marble building 
opened in 1912 (and greatly enlarged 
in 1926 and 1933) contained class- 
rooms, two large auditoriums for 
lectures and musical performances, and 
galleries designed for exhibitions and 
the growing collection. Educational 
programs in art and 
music grew exponen- 
tially in the stately 
building. 

Among our museum 
profession there was 
one museum whose 
reputation was 
traditionally based 
on its educational 
p rogra ms — o n e 
museum which was 
noted for its service 
to the community — 
and that was 
Toledo." 



The Museums reputation for 
community service so attrac ted ( )tto 
Wittmann that he boarded a train in 
the summer of 1946 to persuade 
Director Blake-More Godwin to 
hire him. Godwin was a protege ol 
the charismatic George W Stevens 
and believed deeply in the Toledo 
Museum's educational mission. He- 
was also an enthusiastic collector of 
Impressionist art and an astute 
financial manager. Although impressed 
with Wittmann's credentials and 
energy, Godwin was uncertain how 
to employ him. Museum President 
William Gosline quickly stepped in to 




Peter Paul Rubens (I lenmh. 1 S -1640), Tttt Stmt Gubt tin t, oil 00 

canvas, 1631 ( 1633?), purchased with fundi from the I \bW\ Endowment, (,itt ol 

1 dwaid Orummond 1 ihhev 1950.272. 



otter WlCtmann the newly created 
position of assistant director, which 
he assumed October 21, 1946. 

W'ittmann had recently married 
Margarci ( larlisle 1 lill, whom lie had 
met in Washington in the OSS, where 
she was assigned to the intelligence 
division of the Greek desk. The young 
couple moved to Toledo, little suspect- 
ing that it would be their home for the 
next thirty years — the city where they 
would raise two sons (William, born 
1947, and John, born 1950) and where 
they would become the leaders of a 
cultural community. 

Margaret Hill Wittmann, or "Miggy" 
as she preferred to be called, would 
prove to be an invaluable partner in all 
of her husband's activities. She brought 
the Toledo Museum her own special 
commitment and energy. She assumed 
the myriad responsibilities of a 
museum director's wife with a forth- 
right charm and warmth of spirit that 
immeasurably enriched the dinners 
and openings she graciously hosted. 
She took an active role in the 
Museum's volunteer organizations and 
accompanied her husband in all his 
travels. Her fine arts background at 
Radcliffe College (Class of 1936) and 
her work at the archaeological sites 
Corinth and the North Slope of the 
Athenian Acropolis for the American 
School of Classical Studies at Athens 
proved invaluable to him. In 1963, for 
example, she accompanied Wittmann 
to Basle, Switzerland, to an auction of 
( i reek art, where she aided the selec- 
tion of eight Greek vases. Wittmann 



acquired important painted vases 
throughout his tenure. She was 
instrumental in rejuvenating the 
Toledo Society of the Archaeological 
Institute of America, including hosting 
the 1966 general meeting. Margaret 
Wittmann's enthusiasm, support, and 
devotion throughout their long life 
together were central to her husband's 
many accomplishments. 

The Toledo Museum in 1946 

Otto Wittmann and the Toledo 
Museum of Art proved an ideal match 
of talent and opportunity at this 
moment in the Museum's history. 
During World War II, Blake-More 
Godwin and his Trustees had built up 
a generous art purchase reserve fund 
from the as yet unspent Libbey funds. 
These bequests (the first in 1925 and a 
second in 1938 at the time of Florence 
Scott Libbey's death) stipulated that no 
more than fifty percent of annual 
income could be used for operations; 
the rest must be spent on works of art. 
The Museum could not have been 
better prepared for the flood of objects 
from Europe about to come on the 
market at war's end. 

Toledo's Board of Trustees gave its 
director complete authority to make 
purchases. Godwin quickly recognized 
the skills and connections of his 
younger colleague and turned over to 
Wittmann the search for acquisitions. 
At that time no museum professional 
in America had more freedom to 
purchase works of art for a collection. 
Wittmann's unprecedented buying 



power and board support would 
become the envy of directors around 
the country. Without Wittmann's 
singular talents and training, however, 
this opportunity might have been 
missed. Otto Wittmann had developed 
an unerring eye for quality, one that 
would prove his most valuable asset in 
choosing objects for the collection. 
He also was able to put his fine arts 
education to work and assess the 
historical importance of a potential 
acquisition. His training at Harvard 
led him to dealers whose rich holdings 
would benefit the Museum in the 
future — dealers such as Joseph 
Brummer, and the firms of Rosenberg 
and Stiebel, and Wildenstein. Thanks 
to Paul Sachs he appreciated how 
much a good dealer had to teach 
about the objects in his care. 




The Rycroft Painter, Amphora with Priam Ransoming the Body 
of 'Hector from Achilla, earthenware, 520-510 B.C., purchased 
with funds from the I.ihhcy Endowment) (Sift of Edward 
Drummond Libbey, 1972.54. 



12 




In l')52 Blake-More Godwin and Otto Wittmann admire Gabriel and St. Peter on the wings ot Jan Gossan's (Netherlandish, 
about 1478— I >32) . StiLtrrurn\i Triptych, oil on panel, 1521, purchased with lunds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of 
Kdward Drummond libbey. 1952.85. The Descent from the Cross ccntet panel is in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. 



The knowledge of where to find 
the art, often the patience to wait 
years, and finally the ability to 
move fast and with decision 
when the proper moment comes 
were all necessary to successful 
collecting for the Museum.' 4 



Testing his mettle, Godwin asked his 
new associate to evaluate the strengths 
and weaknesses of the Toledo Museum 
upon his arrival in the fall of 1946. 
Wittmann concluded that, due to the 
good judgment of its directors, Toledo 
owned a distinguished group of 
French Impressionist pictures and 
some very good Italian Renaissance 
works. There were no Old Master 
Dutch pictures, however, except for 
one early Rembrandt portrait, only 
one French seventeenth- or eigh- 
teenth-century picture, and few 
decorative arts, ancient ceramics, or 
sculptures. From Wittmann's perspec- 



tive, the Museum was basically a 
picture gallery with yawning gaps in 
its chronology, whose glass and graphic 
art collections were yet to be billy 
appreciated. Wittmann's recommenda- 
tions in this report, which also in- 
cluded an assessment of the Museums 
arrangements and its accessibility, 
turned out to be the blueprint for 
the future. 

Wittmann would summarize his 
collecting strategies some years later 
in a talk to Toledo Rotarians titled Art 
Values in a (.hanging Society. There he 
recalled how he had first considered 
building a specialized collection based 
on areas of strength. Instead he 
recommended that the collection 
expand by acquiring works of art in 
areas it lacked and in periods and 
media that were then out of fashion in 
the art market. Wittmann's principles 
of selection came straight from Paul 
Sachs's Museum Course training. 
With the blessing of Toledo's Trustees, 
Wittmann plunged into the world of 
dealers, auction houses, and collectors, 
traveling to New York, London, and 
Paris to acquire treasures for Toledo. 

Quality and selectivity should 
be the watchwords of our collec- 
tions. . . . The pillar on which this 
Museum has been built might be 
expressed in one word, quality.... 
It should always be our aim to 
concentrate on the acquisition of 
more of these few. n 



13 




Vineyard Scene, tapestry. Flemish (Tournai), about 1480, 
purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift 
of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1949.34. 



Connoisseurship and 
Collecting 

Otto Wittmann's greatest legacy to 
the Toledo Museum of Art was the 
outstanding collection he acquired 
over the next thirty years. 16 Through- 
out his career, Wittmann served as the 
Museum's chief curator as well as its 
chief administrator, bringing his 
connoisseurial skills to bear in the 
selection of each and every acquisi- 
tion.' He increased the Museum's 
holdings by two-thirds with works of 
art now considered some of the most 
distinguished in America. Wittmann 



would later attribute his collecting 
accomplishments to four factors: 
knowledge of the market and its 
dealers, purchases in areas that were 
not then popular, standards of quality 
he had learned from Paul Sachs, and 
the freedom afforded him by Toledo's 
Trustees. 

His first opportunity to make a major 
purchase came in 1949 when dealer 
Joseph Brummer died and his trove of 
medieval treasures went up for auction, 
a collection that was familiar to 
Wittmann from Sachs's course. He 
attended the sale and bought two 
medieval winemaking tapestries and 
several medieval ivories, the first such 
works to enter the collection. 

Many other purchases followed. The 
most exceptional of his early acquisi- 
tions was The Crowning of Saint 
Catherine, an altarpiece painted by 
Peter Paul Rubens. The painting, 
confiscated by the Nazis from the 
Berlin collection of Albert Koppel, 
had passed through the 
Collecting Point in 
Munich where Wittmann 
had been stationed five 
years earlier. Wittmann 
learned of its availability 
from the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art's curator 
of paintings, Theodore 
Rousseau, who contacted 
him after his museum 
had turned the painting 
down because it was 
suspected of not being by 
Rubens. Trusting his 
visual instincts, 



Wittmann bought the work for 
Toledo. Experts soon verified it as a 
work entirely by Rubens's own hand. 
It immediately became a focal point of 
the collection and the centerpiece of 
Toledo's Great Gallery. Paul Sachs later 
described the painting as the "finest 
and purest large Rubens in America." 18 

Another outstanding purchase was 
Thomas Cole's The Architect's Dream. 
This unusual work by a leading figure 
in the Hudson River School would 
become the Toledo Museum's most 
famous nineteenth-century American 
painting. Wittmann discovered that 
the painting remained in Cole's family, 
because Ithiel Town, a leading New 
Haven architect who had commis- 
sioned Cole to paint it in 1840, had 
rejected it. In 1950 Wittmann traveled 
to Cole's homestead on the Hudson 
and, upon seeing the work, purchased 
it immediately from Cole's grand- 
daughter. A year later, the painting 
became the centerpiece of an exhibi- 




Francisco Goya (Spanish, 1 746- 1 828), The Famous American Mariano C.eballoi, 
lithograph, 182S, Museum Purchase, 1954.23A. 



tion Wittmann organized 
with Edgar R Richardson, 
director or the Detroit 
Institute of Arts and 
specialist in American 
art. Travelers in Arcadia: 
American Artists in Italy, 
1830-1875, explored the 
work of mid-nineteenth- 
century American artists 
such as Cole, who lived and 
worked in Italy and led the 
Hudson River School. 

The Toledo collection 
of prints and books was 
already large thanks to the 
support of Director George 
W. Stevens. Wittmann 





Thomas Cole (American, born England, 1801-1848), The Architect's Dream, oil on canvas, 1840, purchased 
with hinds trom the Florence Scott libbey Bequest in Memory ot her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1949.162. 



Installation of (he granite statue of Pharaoh Tanwetamani (Egyptian, 
664—656 r.i .), purchased with funds trom the Libbey Endowment. 
Gift ot Edward Drummond Libbey, 1949.105. Excavated in 1916. this 
important statue was sold in 1949 by the Museum of Fine Art. Boston, 
to the Toledo Museum Photo: Hauger & Dorf. Toledo. 



focused on adding works of 
great quality, such as a rare 
complete set of Francisco 
Goya's masterly lithographs 
The Bulls of Bordeaux. 

Acquisition of The Syndics of 
the Amsterdam Goldsmiths 
Guild by Thomas de Keyser 
was made possible through 
a wartime friendship with 
Robert de Vries, director of 
the Mauritshuis Museum in 
The Hague. De Vries brought 
the group portrait to 
Wittmanns attention and 
negotiated its export to 
America over the protests of 
the Dutch government. It is 



a monument to the history of guild life 
in seventeenth-century Holland, a 
period that produced artists such as 
Rembrandt and Frans Hals. It began 
the outstanding Dutch seventeenth- 
and eighteenth-century collection that 
Wittmann would create. In 1966, the 
painting was showcased in The Age of 
Rembrandt, a dazzling exhibit of Dutch 
art that Wittmann helped to organize. 

Wittmanns priority was always to 
build a superb and carefully selected 
collection of Western art. To this end 
he purchased works from the ancient 
world through the contemporary 
period, turning to specialists for 
assistance in areas beyond his expertise. 
From the Museum of Fine Arts, 



Boston, he acquired the granite statue 
ol the Kushite pharaoh Tanwetamani, 
a monumental work dated about 655 
B.C. He assembled an exceptional 
group or Archaic and Classical Greek 
vases with the assistance of Dietrich 
von Bothmer, later curator of Greek 
and Roman art at the Metropolitan 
Museum. Wittmann purchased 
Etruscan and Roman bronzes, includ- 
ing a life-size statue of a youth, with 
the advice of his sister-in-law, archae- 
ologist Emmeline Hill Richardson, and 
others. An Assyrian relief of a winged 
deity arrived from Amherst College, 
where it had been brought by a 
nineteenth-century archaeologist. 



Wittmann was tireless in his 
pursuit of European paintings 
and decorative arts and ever 
on the alert for the finest 
examples. While visiting 
English collector Christopher 
Lewis Lloyd, he surprised his 
host with an offer to buy his 
six panels of the lives of Saints 
Nicholas and Anthony by 
Gerard David, works that 
Lloyd had no thought of 
selling at the time. Thanks to 
such boldness, some time later 
Lloyd's London dealer, Geoffrey 
Agnew, contacted Wittmann with an 
option to purchase the three paintings 





Thomas dc Keyser (Dutch. 1 596/97-1667). The Syndics of the Amsterdam Goldsmiths Guild, oil on canva.s, 1627, Museum 
Purchase. I960. 1 1. This work remains one of the few Dutch group portraits in America. Photo: Photo Inc., Toledo. 



Commode (chest of drawers) veneered with tortoiseshell and 
brass, with gilded bronze mounts, French, about 1715—20, 
purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey 
Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 
1965.167. Photo: Tim Thayer. 



depicting Three Miracles of Saint 
Anthony. Other enviable acquisitions 
included Francesco Primaticcio's Ulysses 
and Penelope, a sixteenth-century work 
by an Italian master who was a 
dominant figure at the French court of 
Francois I, and Mattia Preti's The Feast 
ofHerodot 1650-61, a powerful 
painting by a distinguished artist little 
appreciated at the time of the pur- 
chase. Claude Lorrain's Landscape with 
Nymph and Satyr Dancing of 1 64 1 had 
been in the hands of the Nazis before 
being returned to its owner, who sold 
it through the Wildenstein Gallery in 
New York to Toledo in 1949. The Road 
to Market by Thomas Gainsborough, 
one of the English painters finest 
landscapes, entered the collection 
through the hands of Edward 
Speelman, a Dutch dealer to whom 
Wittmann had been introduced in 
London. Robert Frank, a German 



if. 



dealer residing in England) brought to 
his attention London Visitors ok 1874, a 
complex and moody work by French 
artist James Tissot depicting tourists 
standing on the steps of London's 
National Gallery. Wittmann coaxed 
Gustave Courbet's The Irtllis of 1 862 
out or Wildcnstein's back room in New 
York. Such collecting prowess eventu- 
ally resulted in the comprehensive 
collection Wittmann had envisioned. 




Parian, bronze. Indian (Tanjorc Dixiio), about 1 150—1200, 
purchased with funds from rhc Libbcy Endowment. Gift of 
Edward Drummond Libbcy. 1969.345. Photo: Tim Thayer.. 



The concept of 
combining 
jurniture and 
the decorative 
arts together 
with paintings 
in the Museums 
galleries, was 
introduced soon 
after my arrival 
in Toledo. We 
continue to 
believe that 
aesthetics and 
understanding 
are enhanced by 
presenting 
together the 
various forms 
of art.' 9 



Toledo was one of the first art muse- 
ums in America to exhibit paintings, 
sculpture, and decorative arts in the 
same gallery. Wittmann gathered a 
wide range of objects from ceramics to 
furniture that he believed would ignite 
the imagination of the visitor. As his 
decorative arts expertise increased, his 
acquisitions in this area rivaled the 
paintings and sculptures. One of his 
outstanding purchases was a French 
Regence commode with tortoiscshell 
and brass marquetry, considered one of 




Otto Wittmann. 1971. announcing three new accessions; 
top: Giambcttino Cignaroli (Italian, 1706-1770), 
Madonna and Child with Saints, oil on canvas, probably 
1759, 1971.6; left: Scbastiano Ricci (Italian. 1659-1734). 
Christ and the Woman ofSamarta. oil on canvas, about 
1715-20, 1971.5; right: Jcan-Baptistc Le Prince (Ercnch. 
1734-1781), Fear, oil on canvas, 1769. 1970.444; all 
purchased with funds from the Libbcy Endowment, Gift of 
Edward Prumninnd Libbcy. Photo: Courtesy Toledo Blade. 



the finest examples of its type. Silver 
purchases included an English soup 
tureen made by silversmith Paul 
Crespin in 1740 and a French 
tureen and stand by Jacques-Charles 
Mongenot from 1783. The silver 
acquisitions resulted from Wittmann's 
acquaintance with Jacques Helft, 
purveyor of great French silver to the 



i" 




Michel Anguier (French, 1612-1686), Amphitrite, 
limestone, 1654—58, purchased with funds from the 
Libbcy Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond l.ibbey, 
1973.47. Although more than eight feet tall, this famous 
sculpture of the wife of the god of the sea, Poseidon, was 
lost sight of until rediscovered by Otto Wittmann at 
Wildcnstcin & Co. 



Metropolitan Museum, who directed 
him in this specialized field. 

When a number of objects from one 
country had entered the collection, 
Wittmann created a gallery devoted to 
the period: Dutch, French, Italian, and 
American. He accompanied each new 
installation with a grand opening, 
articles in Toledo's Museum News, and 
press releases to both the local newspa- 
pers and national art publications. 



The first of a series of Museum 
gallery reinstallations to be 
completed is the collection of 
French art. Together with the 
Claude Lorrain, David, and 
Courbet, a number of recent 
acquisitions will be shown for 
the first time. These will include 
painting and decorative arts of 
the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries. 20 

Eventually most of the collection was 
reinstalled in galleries by period and 
country. 




In 1958 Otto Wittmann began Toledo's collection of works 
of art from African cultures. This mask was made by the 
Fang Peoples of Gabon in the late nineteenth century (wood 
and pigment, purchased with funds from the Libbey 
Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1958.16). 
Wittmann was particularly proud of the mask because it was 
bought in 1905 by French artist Maurice Vlaminck, who 
deeply admired African sculpture. Photo: Tim Thayer. 




Paul Crcspin (English, 1694-1770), Tureen with Stand and Liner, silver, 1740, purchased with funds from the 
Florence Scott Libbcy Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1964.51a-d. Photo: Tim Thayer. 



I* 



One of my chief preoccupations has 
been the proper presentation of art 
from all ages. I think the relation- 
ship of one object of art to another 
is what makes art speak to yon 
across the centuries. . . The galleries 
themselves relate to one another. 
They are, for the most part, ar- 
ranged by country and in chrono- 
logical sequence. -' 




In 1968 Wittnunn acquired .1 fanciful clock in the shape of a Chinese 
pagoda, or jr least what the English then thought a pagoda looked like. 
He made sure that recordings ot the hells and tunes played by the 
concealed organ could be enjoyed by visitors. English, Pdgodj Or^.m 
Clock, gilt brorae clock on lacquered wood stand, about 1 "SO. 
Museum Purchase. 1%8.~6AcV.'R. Photo: Image Source, Toledo. 




A small advertisement in a Pans paper informed Wlttmann that a scvcntccnth-ccnrurv room, removed in 
1 'XX) from the ( 'hateau dc C.henaillcs in the valley of die Lxiirc, was for sale. Board President Marvin S. 
Kobacker and his wife offered to purchase the room. The ornate chamber was soon assembled with 
furnishings of the penod. Painted and gilded paneling with oil on canvas and wtxid panel piinrings, 
about 1 633-3*1, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marvin S. Kobacker, 1964.34. Photo: Tim Thayer. 



Growing interest in art created 
after World War II persuaded 
Wittmann to place the galleries of 
the most recent works at the front 
of the building. This meant the 
prominent display of art from 
Impressionism to the present at 
the Museum's entrance, a dramatic 
introduction to the collection. In 



1968, a new Gallery of Modern Art 
was dedicated and a series of special 
exhibitions of contemporary art 
established in the new space. The 
subsequent formation of a museum- 
arhliated organization, the Toledo 
Modern Art Group, gave focus and 
enthusiastic support to the modern art 
programs. In 1971 Robert F. Phillips 



I') 




In his last year as director, Wittmann was able to acquire 
the central panel of a fourteenth-century Florentine 
altarpiece redolent of the revolutionary sculptural forms of 
the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. Lorenzo Monaco 
(Italian, Florence, about 1370-1423/24), Madonna 
Enthroned, about 1395, oil on panel, purchased with 
funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward 
Drummond Libbey, 1976.22. Photo: Tim Thayer. 



A major step in Wittmann's steady 
development of the contemporary arts 
collection was the purchase of this large (9 x 
13 foot) painting by Frank Stella (American, 
born 1936), Lac Laronge IV, acrylic polymer 
on raw canvas, 1 969, purchased with funds 
from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Fxlward 
Drummond Libbey, 1972.4. © 1969 Frank 
Stella. Photo: Photo, Inc., Toledo. 



joined the staff, becoming the first 
curator of contemporary art. Phillips 
recommended a number of pur- 
chases for the collection, including 
William de Kooning's Lily Pond, 
Frank Stella's Lac Laronge LV, 
Richard Estes's Helene's Florist, and 
Jacob Lawrence's Barber Shop. 

We have developed a new 
concept for the presentation 
of the Museums art. The 
Museum is now arranged so 
that we approach the past 
through the art of our own 
day. Modern art has now 
replaced mummies in the 
Museums first gallery. 21 




The American glass collection grew in quantity and variety 
during the Wittmann years. The most astonishing story, 
however, is attached to this colorless glass goblet cased with 
gold ruby glass. The Vaupel Goblet descended in the 
family of the famous glass engraver who worked for the 
New England Glass Works, the parent company of the 
Libbey Glass Co. and Owens-Illinois, Inc., to his great- 
grandson, who offered it to Wittmann. Louis F. Vaupel 
(American, born Germany, 1824—1903), Goblet, about 
1872, purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, 
Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1974.52. 




International Exhibitions 

The Toledo Museum — remote though 
it seemed at first from the East Coast 
and Europe — became a respected 
member of the international arts 
community during Wittmann's tenure. 
His frequent travels, wide circle of 
friends and acquaintances, and 
international exhibitions brought 
visibility and recognition to the city 
and its art museum. In 1949 the 
Toledo Museum hosted a traveling 
exhibition, European Masterpieces from 
Berlin Museums. This exhibition of 
paintings from occupied Germany 
highlighted international efforts to 
return works of art to their rightful 
owners (including works belonging to 
German museums) and the principle 
that works of art were no longer to be 



treated as spoils of war. 
After the national tour, 
the works were returned 
to the German museums. 
The immense popularity 
of the Berlin exhibit set 
the stage for many 
international exhibitions 
that Toledo would host 
in the decades to come. 

One of the first exhibi- 
tions Wittmann organized 
after he became director 
in 1959 was The Splendid 
Century: French Art 1600—1715- 
A joint effort with the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, and the National 
Gallery of Art, Washington, D.c, it 
presented seventeenth-century French 
painting, then little known in America 
The catalogue was prepared by 




\W SSSti museum 



RAIL-AIUSHVIC 



Welcoming European Masterpieces from Berlin Museums to Toledo. March 1949. Left to right: Michael V. DiSalle 
(Toledo's mayor). Blake-More Godwin. Otto Wittmann. Dr. Karl Birkmeyer. Toledo was the final and smallest 
venue, but during the ten-day stay. 101.838 people thronged the exhibition. Photo: Hauger & Dorf. Toledo. 



Otto Wittmann and two colleagues promote the exhibition 
Vincent Van Gogh on television in 1954, focusing on the 
Museum's own Vincent Van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), 
Houses at Auvers, oil on canvas, 1890, purchased with funds 
from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond 
Libbey, 1935.5. Photo: Don Servais. Maumee. 



youthful French scholar Pierre 
Rosenberg (with whom Wittmann 
would again collaborate a decade later, 
today the recently retired director of 
the Musee du Louvre). The exhibition 
broke new ground and gave visitors a 
dazzling course in Baroque French art 
and culture. When the show opened in 
Toledo, Wittmann invited the French 
ambassador to officiate at this land- 
mark event in the Museum's history. 

The Age of Rembrandt, a 1 966 
exhibition of Dutch masterworks, 
was a highpoint in Wittmann's 
career. It included four of his excep- 
tional Dutch purchases for Toledo: 
Thomas de Keyser's The Syndics of 
the Amsterdam Goldsmiths Guilds Jan 
Both's Travelers in an Italian Landscape, 
Nicholas Maes's The Happy Child 
(today attributed to Carel Fabritius), 




Otto Wittmann welcoming some of the 133,212 visitots waiting to see The Age of Rembrandt exhibition, 
November 27, 1966-January 8, 1967. Photo: Commercial Photographic Inc., Toledo. 



and Barrholomeus Breenbergh's 
Landscape with Peasants and Animals 
near a Roman Tomb. Wittmann and 
two Harvard colleagues, Perry 
Rarhbone (director of the Museum 
of Fine Arts, Boston) and Thomas 
Carr Howe (director of the California 
Palace of the Legion of Honor, San 
Francisco), planned the exhibit 
together. Wittmann and Howe, who 
had earned the gratitude and friend- 
ship of Dutch museum officials during 
their art repatriation work at the end 
of the war, were able to secure the 
largest selection of seventeenth-century 
paintings ever seen in America. 
"Thanks to the generosity of the 
Dutch," Wittmann noted, "our 
original list of 80 grew to 105 paint- 
ings from 65 museums and private 
collections that now make up this 
great show." 



The organization and 
production of an international 
exhibition of this magnitude is 
not unlike the launching of any 
major corporate enterprise. It 
calls for long-range planning, 
careful strategy, showmanship, 
security, and international 
diplomacy. 25 

Wittmann invited the Dutch 
ambassador to the United States, 
Carl Willem Alwin Schurmann, to 
be the principal speaker at opening 
ceremonies in Toledo. The evoca- 
tive lighting and design of the 
exhibition received much praise, as 
did the "gallery of interpretation" 



to introduce visitors to information 
on the Netherlands through film and 
music. 24 The exhibition broke atten- 
dance records in Toledo, Boston, and 
San Francisco. One reviewer described 
it as "one of the greatest art exhibitions 
ever held in the United States." 25 It 
became the first major exhibition of 
Dutch art ever held in California, and 
the exhibition's celebrity placed the 
Toledo Museum on a par with major 
East Coast museums. 

A year before stepping down as 
director in 1976, Wittmann opened 
The Age of Louis XV: French Paintings, 
1710—1776. This was a grand collabo- 
rative effort with the Art Institute of 
Chicago and the National Gallery of 
Canada, Ottawa. Pierre Rosenberg, 




Opening of the exhibition The Age of Louis XV, October 22, 1975. 
From left to right: Otto and Margaret Wittmann; Pierre Rosenberg, 
curator. Louvre; Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Dirchs-Dilly, French consul, 
Detroit. Photo: Courtesy Toledo Blade. 



then curator of paintings at the 
Louvre, collaborated in the planning 
and wrote the catalogue. The exhibi- 
tion highlighted eighteenth-century 
French artists famous in their day but 
neglected in later centuries. Toledo's 
collection was well represented with 
works such as Jean Jouvenet's Deposi- 
tion from the Cross, Jean-Honore 
Fragonard's Blind-Man's Buff, Francois 
Bouchers Mill at Charenton, and 
Claude-Joseph Vernet's Evening. 
New York Times critic Hilton Kramer 
praised the exhibition for its historical 
surprises and its array of styles, 
describing it as "visually abounding in 
pleasures both sumptuous and austere." 26 

Proteges and Colleagues 

The selection of curators, educators, 
and professional staff was a painstaking 
process that Otto Wittmann took as 
seriously as he did the selection of 
works of art. He often traveled East to 
Harvard or Smith in search of talent. 
Indeed, during his tenure as director, 
Wittmann hired the best and the 
brightest in the museum field with 
every hope that they would remain in 
Toledo tor the rest of their professional 
careers. Many did, notably curators 
William Hutton, KurtT. Luckner, 
Robert F. Phillips, and Roger M. 
Berkowitz. Those who moved on to 
other museums felt greatly enriched by 
their experiences in Toledo and their 
contact with Otto Wittmann. Toledo 
launched the careers of many distin- 
guished individuals: William Chiego, 
Director of the McNay Art Museum in 



San Antonio; John Keefe, RoseMary 
Foundation Curator of Decorative Arts 
at the New Orleans Museum of Art; 
Katharine Lee Reid, Director of the 
Cleveland Museum of Art; and Millard 
Rogers, former Director of the Cincin- 
nati Art Museum. 

Wittmann hired William Hutton as 
curatorial assistant after being intro- 
duced to him at Harvard on one of 
his prospecting trips. Hutton was an 
emerging scholar and connoisseur 
who soon 
became one of 
the Museum's 
greatest assets, 
working there 
from 1952 to 
1965 before 
leaving to 
become director 
of the Currier 
Gallery of Art, 
in Manchester, 
New Hamp- 
shire. Under 
Wittmann, 
Hutton honed 
his skills in the 
research of 
acquisitions and 
the installation 
of galleries. In 
1971 he returned to Toledo as senior 
curator until his retirement in 1992. 
Hutton recommended acquisition of 
important paintings and decorative arts 
and wrote and edited many museum 
catalogues including ones on European 
paintings, American paintings, and 
American glass. 



Of equal stature was KurtT. Luckner, 
curator of ancient art. He arrived in 
Wittmann's office as a young man, 
having just graduated from Stanford 
University, on a tour of the country 
in search of a job at a museum with 
a quality ancient art collection. 
Wittmann admired his initiative and 
offered him a post as an assistant 
curator. From 1969 to his death in 
1995, Luckner became one of the most 
distinguished ancient art curators in 
the country. His exhibitions Silver for 




Escorting the works of art for I he Age of Louis XV, September 24, 1975. From left to 
right: Otto Wittmann, Patricia J. Whitesidcs. registrar; William Hutton. curator; Tony 
Moresco, Pan Am. 



the Gods: 800 Years of Greek and Roman 
Silver and The Amasis Painter and His 
World: Vase Painting in Sixth-Century 
B.C. were heralded for their pioneering 
approach to display and interpretation. 
Under his direction, Toledo's collection 
of antiquities grew in quality and size. 



In l c )58 Wittmann hired Charles 
Gunther to head the education 
programs on the recommendation 
or Williams College professor and 
OSS colleague Lane Faison. Gunther 
appreciated the seriousness with 
which Toledo's director addressed his 
Museum's educational mission and 
enthusiastically joined in the develop- 




Kurt T. Luckner giving a Morning with the Masters talk about the Mycenean 
vases in the Classic Court, October 1972. 



ment of many adult and children's 
educational programs. He worked at 
the Museum until his retirement in 
1 989. To signify the importance of 
education, Wittmann elevated 
Gunther to the rank of associate 
director, a position given to few 
museum educators at that time. 

Wittmann's careful regard for quality 
in staff extended beyond the curatorial 
and education areas. He insisted on 
excellence in every department. In 
1965, in search of a librarian, he was 
introduced to Anne (Ohlson) Morris, 
a recent graduate in art history and 



library science from the University of 
Michigan. He enlisted Louise Lucas, 
the Fogg's renowned former librarian 
to interview her. With Lucas's blessing, 
he offered Morris the post of head 
librarian. Wittmann was Morris's 
mentor, guiding her in the purchase 
of catalogues and scholarly texts. As 
a newcomer to Toledo, Morris appreci- 
ated the Wittmanns' 
warmth and hospitality 
during her first years in 
the new city. 

Four years later Wittmann 
was faced with the sudden 
departure of the Museum's 
registrar, and at curator 
William Hutton's urging 
he interviewed and hired 
Patricia J.Whitesides. 
Whitesides had served as 
registrar for the University 
of Michigan's Museum 
of Art and had also done 
graduate work in art 
history. At Toledo she faced new 
challenges. Her work now involved 
the transport and care of masterpieces 
from Europe (for which the Toledo 
traveling exhibitions were justly 
famous). She never forgot the thrill of 
handling the Chardins and Watteaus 
that arrived from Paris for The Age of 
Louis XV. Wittmann could have given 
the young registrar no higher praise 
than when he asked her to oversee the 
repacking and dispersal of these works 
from their third venue in Ottawa. 
Wittmann's judgment again proved 
sterling, and she remains a key figure 
in the Museum. 



Training the Next Generation 

Otto Wittmann also saw to it that the 
Toledo Museum became a national 
training institute for young professionals. 
When Charles H. Sawyer, fellow Museum 
Course graduate and OSS officer, was 
appointed director of the University Art 
Museum at the University of Michigan in 
1957, he and Wittmann realized that the 
closeness of Ann Arbor and Toledo, only 
fifty miles apart, offered an opportunity 
for a joint endeavor modeled on their 
experiences at Harvard. They planned a 
graduate program in museum administra- 
tion in which students would spend one 
year at the Toledo Museum learning 
about museum service and two years at 
the University of Michigan studying art 
history. Through this alliance, many 
students went on to museum careers. 

Toledo's current director, Roger M. 
Berkowitz, is an example of the 
program's success. He began his 
training as a student in Toledo's 
museum administration program in 
1969. After completing his doctorate 
in art history at the University of 
Michigan, he returned to Toledo to 
become assistant curator of decorative 
arts and served in various leadership 
capacities culminating in his appoint- 
ment as director in 1999. 

Since 1921, the Toledo Museum had 
contracted to provide art instruction for 
Toledo University. After World War II, 
enrollments increased tremendously, 
requiring a larger teaching staff that 
devoted an ever-higher portion of its 
time to teaching University students, In 
1 967, Toledo University joined the Ohio 



State University system, changing its 
name to the University of Toledo. 
Otto Wittmann played a major role in 
administering the University/Museum 
Joint Program in Art, encouraging use 
of the collection as the foundation of the 





* M^H '<■ 






> w . 


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^^,"^*^1 


"^1 


(»• 'MBl I. 



Otto Wittmann enjoying the work of a Saturday class 
during the exhibition The Splendid Century, February 
1961. Photo: Herral Long. 

curriculum and developing a profes- 
sional, academic faculty. Following his 
retirement, the art faculty was adminis- 
tratively transferred to the University. 
Wittmann continued in retirement to 
advise the academic program. He was 
very active in the five-year campaign 
to fund, design, and construct a new 
building to be shared by University and 
Museum classes. With his help, the 
Center for the Visual Arts opened in 
1993; Wittmann's service on the joint 
search committee was critical to the 
selection of Frank O. Gehry as architect. 

Based on these and other successful 
programs, in 1963 the Ford Founda- 




Otto Wittmann speaking to the Museum Aides in the Cloister, 13 April 1972. Photo: Herral Ixing. 



tion chose Toledo as one of five art 
museums to participate in a program 
to recruit capable young professionals 
into museum work. Doctoral students 
in art history were given rigorous 
training in curatorship by working side 
by side with the Museum's senior staff. 

Wittmann and Charles Gunther also 
conceived of innovative internships 
in museum education. Gunther 
suggested to Wittmann that they 
begin an educational program for 
college graduates in art history that 
would train them in museum educa- 
tion and museum work. The program, 
launched in 1970, was the first of its 
kind sponsored by a major museum. 
Graduate students in art history had 
the opportunity to experience all 
aspects of museum education, aug- 
mented by curatorial experience, and 



travel to other museums. Toledo interns 
went on to museum departments in 
Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Boston. 

Former education interns remember 
it as a kind of "museum boot camp," 
where they were suddenly expected 
to talk with actual visitors in the 
Museum's galleries. In front of groups 
of Toledoans, they learned to translate 
their specialized art history education 
into laymen's terms. Gunther also 
introduced art history as a component 
in children's Saturday programs which 
interns were also required to teach. It 
was astonishing, recalled Stephanie 
Barron, former intern and current 
curator of twentieth-century art at 
the Los Angeles County Museum of 
Art, that Toledo brought in art history 
graduates from the best colleges to 
teach third graders. 



Working with the Community 

The Toledo Museum's rapport with 
its community has been legendary. 
Even' activity was intended to benefit 
Toledo's citizens — from the quality 
of the collection and its elegantly 
appointed displays, to the children's 
programs and studio arts education. 
No one was more cognizant of this 
commitment than Otto Wittmann. 

I feel that every activity in an art 
museum relates to education. The 
arrangement of the collections, 
the juxtaposition of one art object 
to another, the very sequence and 
emphasis of the galleries within 
the museum are educational 
(as well as aesthetic) in nature. 27 




Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Grove Place entrance to the Museum, February 22, 1972, to make it 
easier for visitors using the parking lot on the south side of the building. Otto Wittmann and Board Presidenr 
Harold Boeschenstein share the shovel. Photo: Commercial Photographic Inc., Toledo. 




One of Wittmann's first campaigns, 
symbolic of his career, was to remove 
two inner marble 
columns from the 
building's entrance so 
that revolving doors 
could be installed that 
allowed visitors easy 
access. He intended 
their removal to signify 
that Toledo's Museum 
welcomed everyone, 
and he made sure these 
changes were illus- 
trated on the cover of 
Toledo's Museum News. 



Otto Wittmann addressing a Rotary Club luncheon in the Great Gallery, September 
1 1, 1961. At the speaker's table, left to right: Harry F. Collin, president of rhe Board 
of Trustees; Eric Chapman, president of Rotary; Mr. Wittmann; R. A. Stranahan, Jr.; 
George M. Jones, Jr. Photo: Milton C. Zink. 



The Toledo Museum 
never wavered in its 
policy of welcoming 



children and provided free art education 
in Saturday programs. Wittmann began 
the Bus Fund so that children in low- 
income areas or at a distance could 
attend the Museum during the school 
year. By 1950, children from twenty- 
seven public and parochial schools 
throughout the region came to the 
Museum. The cover of Museum News 
often illustrated the youngest visitors. 
Wittmann used the children's record- 
breaking attendance to promote 
membership and fundraising. On a 
typical Saturday registration day in 
September 1962, 2,400 children and 
1 ,000 adults enrolled in art classes, 
allowing Wittmann to claim that the 
Museum was the cultural center of its 
community. 



Museum relations with Toledo's 
community of artists were strengthened 
by Wittmann, who took seriously the 
obligation to support contemporary art. 
Until 1970 he continued the custom of 
regular exhibits of work by local artists 
or in private collections. The annual 
Toledo Area Artists exhibition, cospon- 
sored by the Toledo Federation of Art 
Societies and the Museum since 1918, 
flourished and expanded to absorb the 
small exhibits. Jurors were sought from 
across the country, and the number and 
value of prizes increased. 

Florence Scott Libbey ensured that 
music would always be part of the 
Museum's programs through her 
endowments, and Wittmann took 
an immediate interest in the musical 
programs. Since 1933, the Peristyle 
concert hall, modeled after an ancient 
Greek theater, had been praised for its 
classical design and its acoustics. The 
Museum had long hosted the Toledo 
Symphony Orchestra concert series. 
Concerts also featured orchestras from 
Cleveland and Boston, and Wittmann 
encouraged development of a jazz series 
and a Peristyle dance series. In 1966, 
the popular Pops in the Peristyle was 
inaugurated, and a year later, a chamber 
music series in the Great Gallery. Three 
years later, a Music Docent program 
was begun, and the Peristyle has 
continued to be a much sought-after 
location for exceptional musical events. 

Wittmann brought to Toledo a faith in 
community that made him singularly 
effective in Toledo's world of businessmen, 
glass manufacturers, and tradespeople as 




Margaret Wittmann seated between [Catherine Jamieson and Elizabeth Corwin, at the Membership Drive 
luncheon April 9, 1964. Photo: Courtesy Toledo Blade, Don Flory. 



well with the Museum's changing 
constituency. He immersed himself in 
activities as a citizen and a leader in ways 
unthinkable to many of his East Coast 
peers. He joined the Rotary Club and 
served as president of the downtown 
Toledo chapter with its membership of 
more than five hundred. He liked nothing 
better than to hold meetings in the 
galleries, surrounding Rotarians with the 
Museums treasures. So successful was his 
promotion of the fine arts that eventually 
seventy percent of Rotarians were 
Museum Members. Wittmann also joined 
the Salesman's Club of Toledo, which later 
honored him as "Salesman of the Year." 
He served on numerous community 
boards and committees, including being 
an overseer of the Toledo Zoo. 



Docents and Aides 

Shortly after his arrival in Toledo, 
Otto Wittmann recommended that the 
Museum use volunteers to expand its 
educational programs. He approached 
Bunny (Mrs. Jerome) Kapp, then 
president of the Toledo chapter of the 
Junior League, to organize a program 
similar to the one he saw flourish in 
Kansas City. Wittmann prepared the 
first training syllabus and wrote 
guidelines for gallery talks. Kathryn 
Bloom, supervisor of art education, 
managed the program until 1957, 
when Emma Leah (Mrs. Alvin Jr.) 
Bippus, took over. In 1966, at a White 
House ceremony, Bippus received a 
national medal given to onlv twenty- 
five art educators in the country for her 




Dedication Day (September 24, 1969) for the Glass-Crafts Building, a new building to house the teaching of glassblowing, 
sculpture, metalwork, and other crafts, made possible by Owens-Illinois, Inc., Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp, and Libbey 
Owens Ford. To Otto Wittmann's left is General Lauris Norstad, President and Chairman of the Board of Owens-Corning 
Fiberglas Corporation. 



exceptional work in Toledo. Katherine 
Jamieson was also part of the first 
Docent class and initiated a weekly 
television broadcast from the galleries, 
one of the earliest of its kind in the 
country. She continues as a Docent after 
more than fifty years. When Wittmann 
retired in 1976, the Docents provided 
lectures on art and music to 53,593 
adults and children. 

A decade later, with Wittmann's 
encouragement, a group of Junior 
League Docents started the Art 
Museum Aides for those who had 
given distinguished service to the 
Museum. This volunteer auxiliary 
group sponsored membership drives 



and assisted in receptions for members. 
In 1970 they opened the Collector's 
Corner, a gallery for the rental or sale 
of area artists' work. 

The Studio Glass Movement 

In an unusual collaboration between 
art museum and artist, the Studio 
Glass Movement began at the Toledo 
Museum. In 1962 Wittmann agreed 
to have the Museum sponsor two 
national workshops for artists to 
experiment with glass blowing in a 
non-industrial setting. The workshops 
were the inspiration of Harvey 
Littleton, formerly an instructor at 
Toledo but then a member of the 



University of Wisconsin faculty, who 
had spent some years exploring molten 
glass as a creative medium. The 
support of the Libbey Glass Company 
was central to the workshops' success, 
as was the involvement of Dominick 
Labino, a scientist and craftsman 
working at nearby Johns-Manville 
Fiber Glass, Inc. The workshops were 
the catalyst for a new art form — 
studio glass. In 1966, 1968, and 1970 
the Museum sponsored Toledo Glass 
National juried exhibitions of 
contemporary American glass that 
encouraged artists to explore glass as 
a fine arts medium. 

A superb glass collection given by 
the founders of Toledo's glass indus- 
try has been revealed and dramati- 
cally presented by another great 
glass industry leader and his wife. 
And who are the principal benefi- 
ciaries of these generous acts; why of 
course you and I and all Toledoans 
of today and tomorrow. 1 



,28 



Museum President Harold 
Boeschenstein proposed that a 
Glass-Crafts Building be constructed 
on the grounds as a place for artists 
and students to practice glassblowing, 
sculpture, metalwork, and other crafts. 
It opened in 1969 thanks to the 
generous support of Toledo's glass 
industries. A year later Art in Glass 
opened, a spacious two-level gallery 
funded by Mr. and Mrs. 



Boeschenstein. This was the first 
gallery in an art museum devoted to 
the history of glass, and it highlighted 
the comprehensive Libbey gifts of 
ancient and historic glass as well as 
the modern glass collection. Wittmann 
commissioned Dominick Labino to 
create the monumental glass composi- 
tion Vitrana for the gallery entrance, a 
work the artist generously donated. In 
1972, American Glass Now, a traveling 
exhibit organized jointly with the 
Museum of Contemporary Crafts, 
New York, celebrated the Studio 
Glass Movement begun at the Toledo 
Museum ten years before. 

Partnership and Stewardship 

Wittmann cultivated his most impor- 
tant partnership with his Board of 
Trustees and worked tirelessly to 
maintain it. Their role was policy and 
stewardship and his, management. 
"We raise the money," Board President 
Harry E. Collin told Wittmann, "you 
do the job, so we can point to you and 
the Museum and say it's a great place." 

Wittmann benefited as director from 
the Boards forward-looking fiscal 
policies. In 1953, Museum President 
John D. Biggers formed the New 
Endowment Fund, whose goal was to 
raise $10 million. 2 " By 1960, the fund 
covered eight percent of the Museum's 
operating expenses." 1 In 1967 Presi- 
dent Harold Boeschenstein established 
the Museum's Office of Development 
to oversee a more aggressive program 
of giving, making Toledo one of the 
first museums in the country to have 



such a department. 
That same year, an 
Endowment Develop- 
ment Committee 
began to cultivate 
major contributors to 
the Museum. In its 
first year, donors to 
the Endowment Fund 
increased in the 
number of individuals 
by twenty-six percent. 

In 1969, with 
operating costs rising 
and investment 
income down, the 
Trustees initiated the 
President's Council, a 
group of high level 
donors who would 
provide a much 
needed new stream of 
revenue to the 
Museum and a 
substantial new 




Otto Wittmann receiving the decoration of the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor 
from M. Le Direach, French consul-general, Detroit, on May 2, 1967. Wittmann 
was also honored as Commander, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 1971, 
and as Officer, Order of Orange Nassau by The Netherlands in 1971. Photo: 
Courtesy Toledo Blade. 



element in the 

Museum's future financial stability. 
Membership was $500, and within 
the first year there were 126 members. 
These measures ensured that the 
Museum would remain free to all 
visitors and could continue to meet 
the educational needs of its children. 
When Otto Wittmann retired in 1976, 
the Board's energetic endowment 
activities were contributing twenty- 
four percent of the operating budget, 
a testimony to a successful and creative 
partnership between a director and his 
community. 31 



You see the Museum is a 
successful service organization 
not because of any one person 
or even small group of people. 
It is rather a great institution 
because all who are involved 
are concerned enough to give 
their time or their funds so 
that all may enjoy and learn 
fom this great community 
and educational center.* 2 




Vacationing with their sons and granddaughters at Williamsburg in 1989, left to right: Sasha, son William, 
Katherine, Otto, Margaret, Faith, son John, and Megan. Zoe is not present. Photo: Courtesy John Wittmann. 



Giving Back to the Nation 

Otto Wittmann increasingly saw his 
role as furthering the arts in America, 
and he made significant contributions 
to the establishment of postwar federal 
arts legislation and the development of 
arts organizations across the country. 
In 1963 he was director of the College 
Art Association. And he served two 
two-year terms as president of the 
Association of Art Museum Directors 
(1961-62 and 1971-72). 

Through a presidential appointment, 
he became a founding member of the 
National Council on the Arts in 1964. 
He served on museum advisory panels 
for the National Endowment for the 
Arts (NEA) and the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities (NEH) and 
testified before congressional commit- 
tees to promote federal funding for the 
arts. He also participated in many 



other activities that contributed to 
the wellbeing of America's museums. 33 

His service, both nationally and 
internationally, brought him awards 
and honors. He held honorary degrees 
from a number of universities in the 
Midwest. The governments of France, 
the Netherlands, and Italy honored 
him for both his wartime work and his 
international exhibitions. He received 
the French Order of Arts and Letters 
and was decorated as an officer of the 
French Legion of Honor. No honor 
meant more to Wittmann than one 
he received from America's museum 
profession. In 1987, the American 
Association of Museums awarded Otto 
Wittmann its Distinguished Service 
Award. This is the Association's highest 
honor to individuals whose profes- 
sional affiliation with museums has 
been a sustained and integral part of 
their lives and whose contributions to 



the American museum field are 
exceptional. The award recognized 
both the quality and breadth of 
Wittmann's art acquisitions and his 
leadership in the museum sphere. 

When retirement approached, Toledo's 
Board of Trustees encouraged 
Wittmann to search for an associate 
director whom he could train to 
succeed him. Roger Mandle was 
Wittmann's choice for the next director 
of the Toledo Museum, and he took 
over when Wittmann retired at the 
end of 1976. "He wore the Museum 
like a suit of clothes," Mandle recalled, 
marveling at the grace with which 
Wittmann stepped down and gave his 
beloved Museum to a chosen successor. 
Wittmann remained an advisor and a 
friend to the three directors who 
succeeded him. 

As director emeritus, Wittmann stayed 
active on the Museum's Board of 
Trustees, but Toledo soon took second 
place to the next phase of his profes- 
sional life. He and Margaret made a 
new home for themselves in southern 
California. Otto Wittmann spent the 
next fifteen years as a consultant to 
museum boards of trustees, first at the 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 
(1977-78) and then at the J. Paul 
Getty Trust (1979-89) and the Santa 
Barbara Museum of Art (1991-96). 

At the Getty, Wittmann enjoyed the 
unusual opportunity to start over in 
the winter of his life to build a new 
collection and set the foundation for 
another museum's future. Wittmann 
encouraged the Getty's trustees to 
broaden their mission to include 




In 1992 to celebrate the reopening of the renovated west wing galleries, Museum Members enjoyed a unique 
moment with Otto Wittmann and three of his successors as director of the Toledo Museum on the stage of the 
Peristyle at one and the same time. From left to right: David W. Steadman (director 1989-99), Roger Mandle 
(director 1977-88), Otto Wittmann (director 1959-76), and Roger M. Berkowitz (future director from 1999). 



contributed greatly to the Getty's growth 
into a significant museum and a multi- 
faceted arts institution. 34 

The very nature of art and of the 
museums which preserve and present 
works of art reassures people of the 
continuity of human visions and 
thought and of the importance of their 
place in the vast stream of significant 
developments over centuries of time. ^ 

To serve the community and to acquire 
works of art of the highest quality were Otto 
Wittmann's vision and his mission. His 
legacy to new generations of museum visitors 
remains his faith in the importance of art for 
the wellbeing of the individual, the commu- 
nity, and the world. 



research, conservation, and education. 
As acting chief curator from 1980 to 
1982, he focused on strengthening 
J. Paul Getty's original collection of 
classical antiquities, French decorative 
arts, and European paintings. He also 
proposed a broader policy of art 
acquisitions, envisioning a selective 
collection of objects of the highest 
aesthetic. The collection would come 
to include medieval manuscripts, 
drawings, and photographs. He 
established and served as chairman of 
the Getty's arts acquisition committee 
for ten years, bringing to bear the same 
deliberation and insistence on quality 
for which he had become famous in 
Toledo. His standards and vision 




Board ot Trustees or the J. Paul Getty 
Trust, 1985. Standing, left to right: 
Stuart T Peeler, J. Patrick Whaley. 
Otto Wittmann. Fcderico Zeri 
honorary, FrankJin D. Murphy. 
Gordon P Getty. Rocco C. Siciliano. 
Seated, left to right: Norris Bramlett, 
Jon B. Lovelace, Harold E. Berg 
Chairman. Jennifer Jones Simon. 
JohnT. Fey. Harold M. Williams 
President and Chief Executive Officer. 
Photo: Eric Myer. 



Notes 



1 W inified (Witonann) Limning left Raddifit to 

pursue .1 career in modeling in New York Ciry where 
she worked tor VogutaiiA Othci fashion magazines. 
Later she and her husband Just Lunning managed the 
New York store ot C icorg Jensen, the Scandinavian 
silver designer. Alter her husband's death, Winifred 
continued her successful career in retailing. She died 
in 1999 in New York Ciry. 

2 The biographical material and quotes trom Otto 
Wittmann throughout this text come trom three 
extensive oral histories he has given and three 
interviews with the author. See the following: Otto 
Wittmann interview by Paul Cummings, August 19, 
19~6, Archives ot American Art, Smithsonian 
Institution; Otto Wittmann interview by Thomas 
Carr Howe. October 25, 1981, California Oral 
History Project, Archives ot American Art, 
Smithsonian Institution; Otto Wittmann, "The 
Museum in the Creation ot the Community," 
interview by Richard Candida Smith, 1995, Art 
History Oral History Project, compiled under the 
auspices of the Getty Center for the History of Arts 
and Humanities, The J. Paul Getty Trust. The 
interviews by the author took place June 6, 1998; 
June 29, 1999; and June 3, 2000. John Wittmann 
has kindly verified certain facts and dates. 

Additional information about Otto Wittmann is 
published in Sally Anne Duncan, Paul Sachs and the 
Institutionalization of Museum Culture Between the 
Wars (Dissertation, Tufa University, 2001; UMI 
£.3004793). As part ot the celebration of the 
centennial ot the Toledo Museum of Art, Otto 
Wittmann was interviewed by Toledo PBS station 
WGTE for a one-hour documentary: The Public 
Broadcasting Foundation of Northwest Ohio, The 
Toledo Museum of Art: A Centennial Portrait (Toledo, 
OH, WGTE, 2001). 

3 Arthur Pope (1880-1974) was professor of fine- 
arts at Harvard and a successor to Denman Waldo 
Ross (1854-1935) who pioneered theories of color 
and design widely adopted by art teachers in 
America. Sec Mary Ann Stankicwicz, "Form, Truth 
and Emotion: Transatlantic Influences on Formalist 
Aesthetics." Journal of Art & Design 7, no. 1 (1988) 
81-95. 

4 For background on the I larvard Society for 
Contemporary Art. see Nicholas Fox Weber, Patron 
Saints: Five Rebels Who Opened America to a New Art, 
l'J2H-1943 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992) 
3-132. 

5 ( )tto Wittmann interview with Thomas Carr 
Howe. October 25, 1981, 13. 



6 Announcement of Otto Wittmann's liiringat the 
Toledo Museum, Museum News (December 1946). 

7 April 20-May 21,1 938 (Boston: Geo. H. Ellis Co.). 

8 In the fall of 1941 the Army released men over 
twenty-seven years old to reserve status, and Wittmann 
went to work for Robert Tyler Davis, Museum Course- 
graduate and director of the Portland Museum of Art 
in Oregon tor six months as assistant director. In 
February of 1942, Wittmann received orders to return 
to Camp Upton on Long Island. 

9 See Otto Wittmann, "Collection of papers relating 
to the Art Looting Investigation Unit of the U.S. War 
Department's Office of Strategic Services, 1945- 
1946," in the Archives of the Getty Research 
Institute, Los Angeles, CA. 

10 Otto Wittmann, 60 Years of Art for All: The Toledo 
Museum of Art (Toledo, OH: Toledo Museum of Art, 
1961)22. 

1 1 Perry Rathbone was curator at the Detroit 
Institute of Art from 1936 to 1940 and director of 
the City Art Museum in St. Louis from 1940 to 1955 
before becoming director of the Museum of Fine Art, 
Boston, from 1955 to 1972. 

12 Edward Drummond Libbey bequeathed his 
collection of forty-two paintings. While president he 
donated paintings, sculpture, and graphic arts, as well 
as the core of the glass collection. See Toledo Treasures: 
Selections from the Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, 
OH, and New York, NY: The Toledo Museum of Art 
and Hudson Hills Press, 1995) 14-15. 

1 3 Otto Wittmann, A Community's Involvement in the 
Arts (Toledo, OH: Toledo Museum of An, 1971) 4. 

14 Ibid., 7. 

1 5 Otto Wittmann, Art Values in a Changing Society 
(Toledo, OH: The Toledo Museum of Art, 1974) 10. 

16 More of the prizes of Wittmann's collecting years 
can be viewed in the issues of the loledo Museum of 
Art Museum News, which he managed until his 
retirement, viewing the periodical as a way of 
informing Museum Members and other museums 
about the collection. Three issues accompanied 
exhibitions of recently acquired works of art, all titled 
"Treasures for Toledo": Museum News, new series, vol. 
7, no. 4, Winter 1964; vol. 12, no. 4, Winter 1969; 
and vol. 19, nos. 2 & 3, 1976. Many of his greatest 
accessions are highlighted in Toledo Treasures (see 
above n. 12). With the maturing ot the collection, he 
also organized the research and publication efforts 
that produced the collection catalogues European 
Paintings (1976), American Paintings (1979), and the 
first volume of the Corpus Vasorum Antiauorum 
(1976). 

17 The Toledo Museum benefited from the 
administrative and curatorial contributions of a 
number of staff during its first fifty years, notably 



Dorothy Blair, William A. Gosline, Nell I.. Jaffa, J. 
Arthur MacLcan, and Caroline Ransom Williams. 

18 Sachs is quoted in An Endowment Fund for the 
loledo Museum of Art (Toledo, OH: The Toledo 
Museum of Art, 1955). 

1 9 ( )tto Wittmann, Art Values in a Changing Society, 1 7. 

20 Museum News, no. 59 (November 1952). 

21 Otto Wittmann, A Community's Involvement in 
the Arts. 9. 

22 Ibid., 10. 

23 "What it takes to put on a $50-million art 
exhibit," Business Week, no. 1945 (December 10, 
1966) 114. 

24 Toledo Sun, November 24, 1966. 

25 Horst K. Gerson, "America celebrates the age of 
Rembrandt," The Connoisseur 163, no. 657 
(November 1966) 194. 

26 Hilton Kramer, "Changing Our Image of French 
Painting," New York Times, November 2, 1975. 

27 Otto Wittmann, "The Museum as an Educa- 
tional Institution: New Definitions ot Purpose and 
Direction," The Conference on Education in the Art 
Museum, November 4 and 5, 1971, 5. 

28 Otto Wittmann, A Community's Involvement in 
the Arts, 12. 

29 An Endowment Fund for the Toledo Museum of Art 
(Toledo, OH: Toledo Museum of Art, 1956). 

30 "Sources of Operating Income, 1960," Toledo 
Museum of Art Annual Report, 1975-76. 

31 " Sources of Operating Income, 1976," Toledo 
Museum of Art Annual Report, 1975-76. 

32 Otto Wittmann, A Community's Involvement in 
the Arts, 21. 

33 Wittmann served on the Arts Advisory Panel for 
the Internal Revenue Service, the National Collection 
of Fine Arts Commission, the U.S. National 
Committee ot the International Council of Museums 
(ICOM), and the Advisory Committee responsible 
for implementing the initial programs of the Federal 
Indemnity Act. 

34 Conversation with John Wittmann. See also 
Rcbekah Scott, "Art connoisseur sculpted renown of 
Toledo Museum," The Blade (Toledo), July 1 7, 2001 ; 
Myrna Oliver, "Otto Wittmann; Helped Guide 
Getty," Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2001 . For an 
historical overview of the Getty Museum, see John 
Walsh and Deborah Gribbon, 'The J. Paul Getty 
Museum and its Collection: A Museum for the New 
Century (Los Angeles, CA: The J. Paul Getty 
Museum, 1997)20-80. 

35 Otto Wittmann, Art Values in a Changing Society, 1 8. 



)2